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Pagadian City

Posted by on Dec 13th, 2009
Filed Under: Featured, Pagadian, Zamboanga

pagadian map
Pagadian City

Before it was labeled as the Regional Center of Zamboanga peninsula, Pagadian city was virtually unknown. Today though, it has been getting its fair share of tourists in the Zamboanga peninsula. The word Pagadian was derived from a local word “pangadye-on” meaning prayer or praise.

Bounded by mountain ranges, tourists would notice that Pagadian’s topography is a bit like that of Hong Kong. You’ll find that most houses in Pagadian would have rising steps which lead to gated properties or houses. To me though, Pagadian’s hilly terrain is reminiscent of Baguio city. I always tell my mom that being in Pagadian is like being in Baguio because of the mostly overcast days, and the houses with rising steps at their doors or gates.

Philippines Pagadian Little Hong Kong of South

Photo by Jerome Herrera

Philippines Pagadian Tricycle

Pagadian Tricycle
Photo by MikeOcampo

Another anomaly that I noticed was how the tricycles were built in Pagadian. I found that all tricycles are inclined (obviously because of the terrain). Pagadianons pride themselves in having these unique tricycles. They say that this is the only place in the country that one can enjoy public transportation which is inclined on a 25-40 degree angle. I felt intimidated to ride the strange looking vehicles at first but after riding them for a couple of times, I started to liken tricycle rides in Pagadian to roller coaster rides (especially if you are cruising uphill or downhill).

Philippines Pagadian Tricycles

Pagadian Tricycles
Photo by Jerome Herrera

You can also find these tricycles parked at the tricycle terminal outside of the newly built Gaisano Capital mall. The mall is the biggest in the entire Zamboanga peninsula, bigger than malls in Zamboanga city. During the past few months, Pagadian city has been experiencing a staggering increase in growth. This expansion is fueled primarily by the transfer of regional offices from Zamboanga city to Pagadian city. The Gaisano Capital mall is one of the developments that came about because of the transfer. The Gaisano Capital houses popular chains such as Jollibee, Mc Donald’s, HBC, David’s Salon, and etc. The mall’s main features are the Gaisano Capital Supermarket, Gaisano Capital Department Store, and the Gaisano Food Court.

Philippines Pagadian Gaisano Capital mall

Gaisano Capital Mall: The biggest mall in the Zamboanga Peninsula is in Pagadian
Photo by Jerome Herrera

Another distinct feature of Pagadian is that the road network is in the form of a grid. It is almost as efficient as that of New York City. Unlike other Philippine cities wherein there are only two or three routes that you could take to reach a destination, you would find that in Pagadian, there would probably be more than a hundred routes that you can take to reach a certain destination.

About thirty minutes away from the city proper is the Pagadian Rotonda. It is a park which overlooks the Pagadian bay. Horseback riding can be found inside the circular park. Ten minutes away from the seaport are the Dao Dao islands. The islands are 1.10 hectares huge. One of the islands is called Dako (big) and the other is called Gamay (small). The activities that you could do at the Dao-Dao Islands are fishing, swimming, and boating.

Lourdes Hot and Cold Springs, which is only 32 kilometers away from the city. The springs are all natural, so it is assured that they are soothing and perfectly safe. The springs are also tapped by the city’s water district as a prime source of water for the barangays, particularly Kagawasan.

Pagadian also has its share of wonderful and beautiful waterfalls that are hidden from the entrapments of modernization.

  • Pulacan Falls is located some 12 kilometers from Pagadian City, in the town of Labangan. It covers an area of 400 square meters and is the source of water for the Labangan irrigation system. It can be easily be reached by any motorized vehicle. Since the opening of the PADAP Road, the Pulacan Falls has been getting good press, with people choosing to camp and picnic there.
  • Lison Valley Waterfalls, on the other hand, is still relatively untouched. Located 42 kilometers northwest of Pagadian, the falls have a height of about 20-25 meters. The basin is spherical in shape and about 20 meters in diameter. The area itself is surrounded by verdant forested greens, giant ferns, and wild orchids.
  • Lourdes Waterfalls, located in barangay Lourdes, is another great waterfalls attraction. Like the hot springs, Lourdes Waterfalls is also located some 32 kilometers away from the urban area.
  • Manga Falls can be found 7 kilometers away from Pagadian and it is a two-layered waterfall, surrounded by huge trees that are home to white monkeys.
  • Ditoray Waterfalls is located a bit further — 14 kilometers away — and it is worth the trip. Large stones ring the falls, making for a grandiose spectacle.
  • My dad always said that the Ukay-Ukay (imported used clothing store) in Pagadian is so much better than anywhere in most of Mindanao. When he comes from this city, he would always have new clothes with him. When I got to Pagadian city, I did notice a huge number of Ukay-Ukay shops and indeed most of them does offer a wide array of nice clothing. So if you’re into Ukay-Ukay, you’d probably get some good deals here.

    Why Not Go

    The emergence of Pagadian city as a viable tourist destination is mostly due to the recent regional office transfers. A lot of tourist spots in the city are still being developed or renovated (from years of neglect). There remain only a small number of places to go in Pagadian which are unique and worthwhile. For people who are used to the usual beach resorts, shopping malls, nightlife, and parks, Pagadian city would probably be too tame for you.

    Why Go

    Pagadian city is the gateway to the Zamboanga Peninsula. Since most of the cities in the peninsula are fairly small and would not take all day to tour, you could squeeze Pagadian city in a multi city Zamboanga Peninsula tour.

    Best Time to Visit

    Pagadian city is lovely all year round. Since the city is out of the typhoon belt area, weather systems would not affect your travel plans. Another good thing about the weather in Pagadian city is that it is usually overcast. This may be good or bad news to you, depending on the climate in your area. To me though, the occasional mild sunshine and cloudy days of Pagadian are a welcome treat.

    Pagadianons celebrate two festivals every year. The first is the Pasalamat Festival in January – this festival is a form of thanksgiving by Pagadianons for the blessings they received during the past year (pasalamat means to thank or be thankful for). Pasalamat festival features a beauty pageant, parades, and trade exhibits. The other festival in Pagadian is the Megayon festival. The Megayon festival celebrates unity and between the three peoples of Zamboanga peninsula: the Christians, Muslims, and Subanens. The festival runs for a week with activities featuring cultural dances and songs, native sports competitions, peace forums, and environmental events. Megayon is held every September 17th (Zamboanga Del Sur’s anniversary as a province).

    Where to Stay

    Philippines Hotels and Resorts

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    The most famous and best hotel in Pagadian city is the Hotel Alindahaw. This hotel is perfect for business travellers, vacationers, or families. The hotel is fairly new so you can expect new furnishings and the hotel to be in tip top condition. The hotel is located along Rizal Avenue, within walking distance from Gaisano Capital. You can make reservations using this contact number: 062-215400, 062-2154001.

    Where & What to Eat

    Greenhouse Fishing Station and Restaurant is one of the better and more upscale restaurants in the city. The place is equally lovely both day and night. Day would bring out the expanse of the complex. You would see a huge pond just besides the restaurant wherein they get the freshwater fishes that they serve to the customers. For your drinks, you could also request for fresh Buko juice served in coconut husks. At night the whole area is adorned by lights which are the perfect setting for romantic dinners.

    Philippines Pagadian The Nipa Hut Restaurant at the Springland Resort and Hotel

    The Nipa Hut Restaurant at the Springland Resort and Hotel
    Photo by Jerome Herrera

    Another great dining option is the restaurant at the Springland Hotel and Resort. The restaurant offers delicious conventional dishes at very affordable prices. The resort features a hot spring swimming pool, a lake, and a very nice garden.

    My to do List

    1. Marvel at the views that Pagadian’s rolling terrain provides
    2. Ride Pagadian’s wacky tricycles
    3. Do some shopping at the Gaisano Capital mall
    4. Dine at the Greenhouse Fishing Station and Restaurant
    5. Enjoy horseback riding at the Pagadian Rotonda
    6. Do some swimming at the Dao-Dao islands
    7. Ukay-Ukay shopping

    Getting There

    Since the Pagadian city airport is not yet operational, the best way to get to Pagadian is by travelling by plane to a nearby city such as Dipolog city or Zamboanga city first and then riding a bus going to Pagadian city. Bus travel from Zamboanga city to Pagadian takes six hours and around four hours from Dipolog city.

    The best thing about travelling by bus is that you get to enjoy views of the mountains in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

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    Jerome Herrera was born and has lived in Zamboanga city, Asia’s latin city for twenty years. Having lived in that part of the country for most of his life, he has extensive knowledge on that region. Over time, he hopes to see Zamboanga city regain its former glory as the tourist destination of the Philippines through its new branding as Asia’s Latin City. Read more [+]

    Tourism Philippines thrives on the knowledge of the community. Got a tip, photo or even a guide on a place you been to in Philippines? We will love to hear from you!

    13 Responses to “Pagadian City”

    1. Ryan says:

      Do you have photos of the waterfalls? Id be interested to see it, I had a classmate from Pagadian during my uni days.

    2. Pearl says:

      The tricycles of Pagadian are really strange. It unsettles one who is riding it for the first time. Since a ride around the place is short, it doesnt matter if there is some discomfort.

      The place is quite placid, the people are kind and helpful. The bus station is simply filled with vendors of ‘bulad’ or dried fish from Zamboanga.

      There is no airconditioned bus between Pagadian and Dipolog and one gets powdered with dust from the unfinished stretches and at times it is difficult to breathe!

      The rivers and streams look unpolluted from the bus but we notice that the river beds are getting very shallow. Reforestation may be one solution and darn those illegal loggers, and may God bless them with wealth but not from the precious trees.

    3. Sam says:

      Cebu Pacific will start its service to Pagadian via Cebu and Manila on April 27 and June 9, 2010 respectively.
      Cebu-Pag-Cebu will be 4 times weekly every Tue, Thurs, Sat & Sun while Manila-Pag-Manila will be 3 times weekly every MWF.

    4. Dhebe Chavez says:

      There really are plenty of attractions in the region around Pagadian City. The author failed to mention Mt. Palpalan, Guipos caves, the multi-colored coral reefs in Dao-Dao big Island, other beach resorts both developed and undeveloped in Tukuran town and some coastal areas in Pagadian City itself, and the home of the Peninsula’s endangered pawikan-the panikian Island of Pitogo having Boracay-like white sand (I’ve been there). Be there and explore!

    5. ELMER ALFEREZ says:

      gumaganda na nga tlaga ang pagadian,sana mas madevelop pa ng husto at mas dumami pa ang tourist spot sa lugar na to.ito kc ang lugar ng tatay ko d2 sya laht kme magkakapatid hindi pa nkakarating ng pagadian,sbi kc ng tatay ko magulo daw dati jan kaya umalis sila ng nanay ko at tumira sa manila at iniwan ung land property nmin jan sa pagadian,pero ngayn eto na ang pagadian umuunlad kaya hindi na kme manghihinayang na bumalik at balikan ang lugar ng aming mga magulang..kaya hinding hindi kna nmin iiwan “PAGADIAN” pag uwi ko ng pinas humanda ka pagadian!

      • phebz22 says:

        WOW!!PAGADIAN im so proud to be pagadianon,sana mayor ma kilala pa yung pagadian city…sana ma develops pa yung pagadian..alam ko lalong gaganda pa yung mga spot natin jan….ASESSO PAGADIAN..

    6. Jerome Herrera says:

      Hopefully, the new flights would bring more tourists to Pagadian city.

    7. mohammed says:

      i am interested in coming and visiting this beauty and natural area .
      it will be on sep how is the weather in this time of the year?
      Jerome can you help me there

    8. Hi Jerome! Very nice of you to be able to come up with something like this for my beloved hometown! And to think you are from far away Zamboanga City! I think you forgot to mention the beautiful Mabait Beach at Bomba, a little farther away from Dao-Dao Dako, as well as the nice beaches at the coastlines of Tukuran. There is also this amazing overlook from the Mama Mary Shrine at the Tabak Division (Camp Alindahaw) in Pulacan – where one can view the whole expanse the rice fields and the coastline from Tukuran to Dumagok. Another one is the Silangan cultural center way up where the PADAP expats used to be housed… and how could you miss the bulad (dried fish) stalls lined at both sides of the road at the Pier area! And also, how about the barter traders at Alta Mall … and a lot of Korean stores selling very cheap items around the commercial district… there’s also the tabo-an (bagsakan) at San Pedro District where very cheap farm products are sold, and ukay-ukay at its lowest deals!!!!

      And, of course, the seasonal fruits you can find in Pagadian at its cheapest – lanzones, marang, durian, avocado, tambis, macopa, water melon, mangoes (it once was the mango bastion of Western Mindanao)… and many more! Pomelos, bananas, duhat (lomboy or native grapes), papayas are sold the whole year round.

      And you failed to mention the one-stop-shop Agora – where you can buy anything from ukay-ukay to dry goods (clothing, shoes, bags, accessories) to groceries as well as wet goods (fresh sea foods, meat, vegetables…) in one big and well-organized market complex!

      Of course, one can enjoy the view of the Illana Bay at the Provincial Capitol, too…

      Well, the “unique” tricycle is a product of an intensive study of how to make it fit to the rolling terrain. The trike is inclined upward because, normally, a passenger will always take the front seat first (there’s always a back seat), so it gets its balance. And even without a passenger, the trike levels itself when going down to the commercial district. This “uniqueness” prevents the vehicle from careening down and colliding with the boats at the wharf area (it happened many times before this “unique” style was adapted), or sliding backward if it goes uphill without a passenger.

      And here’s something very inspiring … a son of Pagadian City has just joined P-Noy’s cabinet, Sec. Enrique Ona of the Department of Health (DOH). He’s the son of the late Mayor Ona of Pagadian City and brother of Councilor Gil Ona. Before him, Undersecretary Romeo (Boy) Ebarle was PGMA’s Chief-of-Staff. He’s the son of the late Governor Ben Ebarle of Zamboanga del Sur (and father of the late Victor Ebarle, the one who was slain by Jason Ivler). There was a time when the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was chaired by Atty. Reuben Lingating, a Subanen, who had served as Provincial Administrator of Zamboanga del Sur.

      I’ve been in your “Asia’s First Latin City” many times, too. In fact, I stayed at Santa Maria when I worked with Napocor … and my uncle married Mayor Lobregat’s sister…

      Again, thanks for the wonderful effort!

    9. Jerome Herrera says:

      Hi Mohammed, I’m not actually based in Pagadian city and only went there as a tourist.

    10. am proud as a pagadianos just hope peoples of the Government can wake up the problems of the residence of pagadian city . . As long as the peace and order of the city . .just hope the Government will these problems . .

    11. Jeff says:

      Nice to have an independent traveler write about Pagadian. The info is a little dated but still useful. Kudos!

      Yes, Pagadian is lucky to be endowed with great natural beauty. I have traveled to many parts of the country and abroad and I’m happy to conclude that Pagadian can compete, especially on ecotourism/off-the-beaten-track travel. One good model to adapt is that of Batanes. What they lack in malls, commercial establishments, and beach resorts, they make up plenty with their raw, unspoiled hills and rolling terrains. Their road network is limited and patchy but gets one to the most scenic spots. There is no night life but tourists don’t mind. They come for the beauty of the place.

      I personally think that Pagadian and Zamsur (I’ve seen this in Pagadian airport and I like it better than the old Zambosur monicker) have more to offer: rolling hills, coastlines, dive spots, lakes, etc. The only thing missing are brave local entrepreneurs to set up a tour operator business in Pagadian. I think that’s the catalyst. If somebody can set it up, the rest will follow. But it takes more than one individual to pull this off. It takes the entire Pagadian/Zamsur community.

      For those of you willing to exchange ideas on this subject, I’m very much willing to correspond. Just drop me an email. Thanks again, Jerome, for this rough-and-ready guide.

    12. james says:

      pagkanindot sa pagadian these days………………. ganahan ka molaag kay barato ang bulad………………….

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